Penrose: First Impressions review – Potential mixed with platitudes
First impressions really do count. Penrose are presumably familiar with this adage – which makes their debut album all the more confusing.
The Dublin four-piece, led by Darragh McGrane, aren’t shy about reflecting their influences; so much so that most of these seven tracks sound like Britpop cast-offs. Sign On recalls The Bluetones at their bounciest, while the epic build of Harmony is their faltering attempt at a lavish, string-laden Live Forever-style ballad. Other tracks, such as the strummed Better Man, are simply forgettable.
With many of the songs inspired by his relationship and becoming a father in recent years, songwriter McGrane’s sincerity or full-hearted sentiment can’t be faulted, but his lyric sheet needs work.
Most tracks fall into the categories of cliche (“The news man, he tells me tales of people’s lives who are lost but never gone”), nonsense (“Don’t wanna promise you this and that/ Cos after all I can only give back if I’m to leave it all behind”) or plain laziness (“Man I feel like crying / Cos everybody’s dying”).
There is clearly potential caught between the radio-friendly melodies and the platitudes, but whether Penrose can unearth it in the future is another matter.